Monday 22 August 2011

Breaches of Copyright

I recently received an email from Henry Hyde of Battlegames magazine, who was clearly extremely cross that I had used two maps from his magazine on my blog without permission. The maps were originally featured in the posts 'Chance Encounter' (WW2 Poland) and 'Black Powder: The Minimalist Approach' (SYW).

This blog does not exist to genuinely offend anyone, and Henry was clearly genuinely offended. Therefore my first duty is to apologise. The maps have duly been removed.

However, I feel I have a right to justify my actions, and to say I feel a little offended in return. My personal view is that the images were correctly credited to Battlegames, were clearly used for no personal gain, and were likely to bring credit to the magazine and its editor. Maybe they would even result in extra sales. 

I said in the SYW post "I hope I'm not going to get into trouble for scanning in the map and presenting it below". I guess I have egg on my face. But that tongue-in-cheek comment expressed the belief that if the copyright holders did see the post, they would realise that no harm or loss to them could possibly result. Naively, I also expected them to see that I was posting in an innocent spirit of sharing my sources of inspiration.

Of course, had I taken the trouble to contact Henry and ask his permission, he may well have given it, so not doing so was clearly a mistake. But I genuinely thought no offence could possibly occur considering the context. 

As readers will note, numerous examples of images and text scanned in from various sources or dragged from the internet have been used throughout this blog. Three occur in the post preceding this one. This is done to show where I get my inspiration from, and to share with others the best that the hobby has to offer, in a spirit of genuine appreciation. I admit they help to bring a splash of colour to the blog, but they also represent free advertising for all the products and publications featured. I expect they all represent breaches of copyright. If I am to receive further irate emails from copyright holders it might be best just to give up.

The only thing I gain from this blog is the pleasure of sharing my activities, ideas and sources with other gamers. Legally it seems I am at fault but I feel no moral qualms. Perhaps readers (maybe even Henry himself) would like to put me straight. Be as brutal as you like.

Best wishes to all, Keith.


The Wishful Wargamer said...

Whatever next? No doubt it is breach of copyright to take photos of figures and models and put them on one's blog because, after all, someone did design them! Well, whatever, I enjoy reading your blog more than Battlegames, and you are probably right that old Henry has lost himself a few subscribers after this!

All the best WW

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Yikes - not sure what to say really other than I can understand it must have been a bit of a shock... Henry is such an affable chap I can only assume that maybe the port wasn't up to scratch after dinner?? :o))

Seriously - you gave your sources, you respected the right of the author to assert their right, within the realms of an amateur wargamers blog you didn't really do anything that a whole load of people (me included) haven't done before... send him a bottle of port with your apologies and all will be forgotten...

Bluebear Jeff said...

I feel just the same as you, sir.

In addition, should you ever wish to use an image from any of my blogs you are most welcome to do so.

-- Jeff

Old School ACW said...

No good Keith. No good.


Itinerant said...

Sorry to hear that happened. I had noticed that post and your comments about it. Perhaps this is something he's had to deal with a lot - which would explain his terseness.

I wonder if he might have given permission if you'd asked. I would probably let you as long as you were giving away the meat of the scenario or article. Basically, just enough to whet the appetite.

Your pictures did encourage me to look again at buying the magazine. (Of which I've never done before.) I probably still will at some point.

Please keep posting.

Capt Bill said...

Sometimes people forget these blogs are not for profit, but for fun. All of us enjoy the inspiration we get from our friend's sites. I have notified On Military Matters to cancel my subscription to Battlegames magazine. Best regards, and don't take too much concern over the jerk!

Pjotr said...

Ah well, no harm was intended. On the other hand, Henry is protecting his business and income, there's also no harm in that.
Improvise, adapt, overcome...


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Capt Bill - don't do that - Henry really is a very affable chap - we don't have the full story, and anyway "Battlegames" is by far and away the best of the crop of current wargame magazines and you don't want to miss out... :o)

Anonymous said...

Wow - so I assert my right to be given the common courtesy of being asked before someone makes use of my work, and now *I'm* a jerk?

Well, my email to you were private, Keith, but you have chosen to make the issue public, so here's what I think.

What gives anyone the right to take something before seeking permission first? How would you feel if it was a piece of work that had taken *you* hours to create, and you suddenly found it on someone else's site, put there without your knowledge?

This isn't just a hobby for me. It's my livelihood. I'm not GW with millions sloshing around in the accounts. I'm a one-man-band struggling to make a living in what is already a highly competitive marketplace, and you're darn right I'll asset my copyright when it has been breached with bare-faced cheek.

The fact that you "have no moral qualms", Keith, is something I find deeply disturbing, but has sadly become commonplace in the Internet age.

In the past, when people have asked permission, I have happily consented, and even provided appropriate versions of artwork or text for their use, with the adition of a copyright notice. But clearly, you and your friends are happier to paint me as the bad guy, wickedly holding on to my precious work.

Oh, hang on, that's it -- MY work, not yours!

If my reaction prompts anyone to cancel their subscription, then so be it, because we are clearly on different moral planets. Everything I post on my website or blogs is original, and if I admired something anyone else had created, I would simply send off an email or pick up the phone to ask if I could reproduce it.

What's so difficult about that?

Rodger said...

I'm with you Keith. Keep up the good work. When there is no financial gain surely it becomes free advertising.

Keith Flint said...


Thanks for posting and giving your side of things. Your emails were so full of aggrieved anger that they rather set me back on my heels and I was inclined to be defensive at first.

On sober reflection, two of your main points are quite fair. By what right do I embellish my blog with your work, and why didn't I just ask?

My defence here is simply, context. I am just a wargames nobody with a tinpot blog on which i try to convey my enthusiasm for the hobby. I couldn't conceive of my transgression being regarded as anything but trivial. I was obviously wrong.

If I understand correctly your other main point is that I may undermine or damage your livelihood. This I think is unfair, considering the context I have already mentioned above and the numerous complimentary mentions your magazine receives on this blog.

To answer your question about finding a piece of my work used on another site, frankly I would be delighted, permission or not. But as you say, we are in different positions as you make a living from your hobby and I do not.

I perhaps should add that the commenters on the blog are not my 'friends', if they will forgive me for putting it that way. They are simply a sample of wargamers who follow or comment on this blog, and I know the vast majority in no other context. I would urge them all to make their points in a polite and non-confrontational way.

Anyway, my apology stands. As Pjotr says, no harm was intended and I hope you can believe that. I will be much more careful in future.


Anonymous said...

Apology accepted, Keith and I appreciate your response. Thank you.

Laffe said...

I'm with Henry here. For the record, I'm already a Battlegames subscriber, but that doesn't matter. I do not know him, other than what I have read in his magazine or what I've heard on the View from the Veranda podcast.

But here's the thing: Monetary gain or loss doesn't come into it. Henry has made the maps himself. I'm rubbish with a paint program, so I always admire good maps in print, and on the web. Basically he has invested TIME into the maps.

When you scan them and put them on your blog you make them readily available to the whole internet community to download and use. Chances are they will turn up on another blog, in another context or even in another magazine after a while. Because the people downloading the maps will not save them with the small print you provided and when they spread they will be percieved as public domain.

Copyright means just that, the right to make a copy of an original work, and is retained by the creator even if he publishes it in a magazine or even on the web for free. It's all about control of your work.

I hope though that there are no hard feelings between you and Henry over this. I also hope that those who have responded saying that they will cancel their subscriptions because of this reconsider. If you have enjoyed the magazine so far why not continue to read it? In the long run it's only your loss I would think.

Capt Bill said...

On reflection, I should have added that anything on my site, photos of games, flags, art work, maps, or any other content is posted for your enjoyment. Please feel free to to download anything that might strike your fancy. Many realms have been invested into the various Orders of Beerstein and the badges are designed to be downloaded to your sites if desired. It was probably inappropriate to brand someone a "jerk" for asserting their copyright privilages, but for most of us its about the inspiration that other sites provide.

Keith Flint said...

Thanks Bill. As has been said, Henry's position is a little different to ours. But your generosity is appreciated.

Beccas said...

Oh dear. Henry posting like a TMP crazy cat. Whatever next?

The Wishful Wargamer said...

Thanks for the comment you left on my blog Keith. My first impulse when I read your post was to see it as a bit of an over-reaction from Henry but I actually thought that Laffe put it very well, and so I hope that Henry hasn't been too put out, by assuming that we're all agin him (which we are certainly not).

And you know, the civilised, humane and gentlemanly way that this seems to have been resolved gives me faith in the human race (or the wargaming portion of it anyway). Oh dear, hark at me, all that reading of Black Powder is having a strange effect on me!

regards WW

Anonymous said...

Thank you, gentlemen. It would appear that rampant peace has broken out.

Now, I do actually want to be as helpful as I can, so let me reiterate that if anyone would like to make use of Battlegames content in an appropriate way, then get in touch and I will do my best to provide you with stuff in a form which meets all our needs.

For example, Keith, I can provide you with those maps (and others), but not scanned (so the quality is better) and with a copyright message actually embedded in them.

Let me know if that would be satisfactory.

Keith Flint said...

Rampant peace indeed! A handsome offer Henry, thank you.

You already have my email address. Presumably the most convenient thing for you would be to email those 2 maps to me. If so, I would be very grateful.

I hardly expected things to turn out so well.

Cheers, Keith.

Itinerant said...

Seriously, good to see that you guys worked this out - I've quoted Henry to title this blog post:

JFaria said...

Two great examples of the true gentlemen, Keith and Henry.
Thankfully, everything was resolved in the most proper way between two civilized people.
Best wishes for all
Jorge Faria
from Portugal.

Oh, and very nice blog, thanks for sharing your great wargaming tips.

Dale said...

Yep, you crossed the line and someone who cares about IP called you out. You may have had the best of intentions, but you had the poorest of execution. You could have had all of these emails prior to posting, but you figured it was okay. Clearly it was not. Looking at other comments some clearly don't understand copyright. Hopefully they do now, but I doubt it. After all, the comments were AFTER reading your trials and tribulations.